Poles Apart: Why people turn against each other, and how to bring them together by Goldsworthy, Osborne & Chesterfield

The three authors of Poles Apart come from different backgrounds: one is an expert on polarization, one is a behavioural scientist and one is a professional communicator. This makes for a good mix of theory and practical content and a very wide range of references and examples.\

The book covers some of the classic experiments in social psychology (such as the “Robbers Cave” and other “boy’s camp” experiments and their similarity to William Goldings Lord of the Flies, Henri Tajfel’s work on social identity, Jonathan Haidt’s moral foundations theory and Schwartz’s human values) as well as well as discussing some of the modern dilemmas and issues around political polarization.

Elliot Aronson argued that the key to understanding inconsistency in beliefs was to understand the implications for our core “sense of self” and this book explains the importance of how we define ourselves in shaping our behaviours and the increasing tribalism of modern lives. The authors offer some very practical steps to managing the issues of partisanship and in-group bias and is a great read for anyone interested in the psychology of groups and political partisanship in the world today.

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